On September 27, 2000, Congressman Jack Metcalf of Washington presented an investigative report on Gulf War illnesses to the House Subcommittee on National Security, Veterans Affairs, and International Relations. In an accompanying statement to the committee, Congressman Metcalf said his report reveals that squalene was found in the anthrax vaccine in amounts that could boost immune response. He noted that this finding raises the possibility that squalene was used in inoculations given to Gulf War era veterans. Metcalf compiled the investigative report over a three-year period, putting together a team led by his Special Assistant, Norma Smith. The report contains a series of documented conclusions and an extensive compilation of supporting documents.
Here is former Congressman Metcalf's statement to the committee:
Statement of Congressman Jack Metcalf
Subcommittee on National Security, Veterans Affairs,
and International Relations
September 27, 2000
Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for the opportunity to once again be a small part of your courageous effort to answer questions regarding Gulf War Illnesses and vaccines used by our military personnel. Your determination to move forward and find answers has provided vital leadership for this Congress on this critically important issue.
Indeed, we have an obligation to pursue the truth, wherever it may lead us. To do less would be to act dishonorably toward the dedicated men and women who stand between us and a still dangerous world.
For that reason, I have issued a report culminating a three year investigation into the conduct of the DOD (Department of Defense) with regard to the possibility that squalene, a substance in vaccine adjuvant formulations not approved by the FDA, was used in inoculations given to Gulf War era service personnel. According to the GAO (General Accounting Office), scientists have expressed safety concerns regarding the use of novel adjuvant formulations in vaccines, including squalene.
The report reveals that the FDA has found trace amounts of squalene in the anthrax vaccine. The amounts recorded are enough to "boost immune response," according to immunology professor Dr. Dorothy Lewis of Baylor University. Therefore, my report concludes that, Mr. Chairman, you are absolutely correct in demanding an immediate halt to the current AVIP (Anthrax Vaccination Immunization Program).
My report further states that an aggressive investigation must be undertaken to determine the source of the squalene, and the potential health consequences to those who have been vaccinated, both during and after the Gulf War.
The report also documents at length DOD "stonewalling" attempts to resolve the squalene issue, which GAO investigators characterized as "a pattern of deception." The GAO stated the DOD denied conducting extensive squalene testing before the Gulf War, then admitted it after being confronted with the public record. The GAO revealed that DOD officials deliberating deployment of the anthrax vaccine expressed a "willingness to jump out and use everything," in discussing experimental vaccines containing adjuvants not approved by the FDA.
GAO also found Peter Collis, DOD official who headed vaccine efforts, refused to cooperate with them. The report states that the DOD has refused to act in good faith upon the GAO recommendation to replicate the findings of a test developed by renowned virologist Dr. Robert Garry of Tulane University, although DOD admitted they could easily do so. The work of the Tulane researchers has been peer-reviewed in a scientific publication of high standing.
Finally, my report states that "Congress should take immediate action to review the findings of the GAO and the Armed Services Epidemiological Board, and provide independent oversight for the immediate implementation of their recommendations." The board called on the DOD to engage in close cooperation with the Tulane researchers.
Congress must get to the bottom of the labyrinth that has become known as "Gulf War Illnesses." Mr. Chairman, you have been in the forefront of this effort. As I am about to leave the Congress, I just want to once again commend you for your courage in this leadership role. Please stay the course. Veterans, active service members and their families deployed around the world are counting on you. Thank you so much.
Go to the Gulf War Syndrome
For information about the Anti-Squalene Antibody Assay,
go to the Gulf War Syndrome
Laboratory Test Page.